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Thursday, December 30, 2010
Read the New Testament in One Year
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The start of a new year is a great time to start on a worthwhile Bible reading project.  So starting today, please follow the Catholic Doors Guide along with me and read a few chapters each day. On the last day of this year, we will have read the entire New Testament.

Prayer Before Reading the Bible

Our Father, who art in heaven, sacred is your Word. Your kingdom come, your words be heard on earth as they are in heaven. Give us today your sacred Word. Forgive our neglect of it in the past as we forgive those who neglect us. Lead us toward an encounter with you each time we delve into the Scriptures. For your presence, your power, and your glory are ever present among us now and forever. Amen.

Need to Buy a Bible

Absolutely every Catholic should own a Bible. Translations like the King James Version and New World Translation are protestant and, therefore, should never be used because they do not even have all of the book of Sacred Scripture. The best Catholic Bible is the Douay-Rheims Bible, which was translated from the Vulgate. Although approved, I would definitely avoid the New American Bible [NAB] and Jerusalem Bible; the footnotes in the NAB can be difficult for converts to appropriately understand.
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The Collegio Armeno - Video
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In this video there is an interesting detail to point out. Between the mark of 0:07 - 0.11 you can see in the right side of the screen what seems to be an Eastern Orthodox Cardinal. This deserves some explanation.

He is the President of Collegio Armeno.

Collegio Armeno in RomeGregory XIII in 1584 had decreed the erection of a college for the Armenians (Bull "Romana Ecclesia"), but the plan fell through. When the Collegio Urbano of the Propaganda was founded later, there were always some places for Armenian students to study.

Finally, in 1885, thanks to the generosity of some wealthy Armenians and of Leo XIII, the Collegio Armeno (The Pontifical Armenian College) was granted the Church of S. Nicola da Tolentino in the street of that name and the original wishes and decree of Gregory XIII relaized after so many years.

The president of Collegio Armeno is an Armenian prelate; the students numbering from 20 to 25 study and attend lectures at the Collegio Urbano of the Propaganda, and wear red sashes and large-sleeved Oriental cloaks.
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Monday, December 27, 2010
Novena to the Magi
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Today is the beginning of the Novena to the Magi, in anticipation for the Epiphany of the Lord. The following prayer was found on Fish Eaters.

28 December:

O holy Magi! You were living in continual expectation of the rising of the Star of Jacob, which would announce the birth of the true Sun of justice; obtain for us an increase of faith and charity, and the grace to live in continual hope of beholding one day the light of heavenly glory and eternal joy. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

29 December:

O holy Magi! who at the first appearance of the wondrous star left your native country to go and seek the newborn King of the Jews; obtain for us the grace of corresponding with alacrity to every divine inspiration. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

30 December:
O holy Magi! who regarded neither the severity of the season, nor the inconveniences of the journey that you might find the newborn Messiah; obtain for us the grace not to allow ourselves to be discouraged by any of the difficulties which may meet us on the way of salvation. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

31 December:

O holy Magi, who, when deserted by the star in the city of Jerusalem, sought humbly, and without human respect, from the rulers of the Church, the place where you might discover the object of your journey; obtain for us grace to have recourse, in faith and humility, in all our doubts and perplexities to the counsel of our superiors, who hold the place of God on earth. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

1 January:

O holy Magi, who were gladdened by the reappearance of the star which led you to Bethlehem; obtain for us from God the grace, that, remaining always faithful to Him in afflictions, we may be consoled in time by His grace, and in eternity by His glory. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

2 January:

O holy Magi, who, entering full of faith into the stable of Bethlehem, prostrated yourselves on the earth, to adore the newborn King of the Jews, though he was surrounded only by signs of poverty and weakness; obtain from the Lord for us a lively faith in the real presence of Jesus in the blessed Sacrament, the true spirit of poverty, and a Christ-like charity for the poor and suffering. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

3 January:

O holy Magi, who offered to Jesus Christ gold, incense, and myrrh, thereby recognizing Him to be at once King, God, and Man; obtain from the Lord for us the grace never to present ourselves before Him with empty hands; but that we may continually offer to Him the gold of charity, the incense of prayer, and the myrrh of penance and mortification. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

4 January:

O holy Magi, who, when warned by an angel not to return to Herd, traveled back to your country be another road; obtain for us from the Lord, the grace that, after having found Him in true repentance, we may avoid all danger of losing Him again. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

5 January:

O holy Magi, who were first among the Gentiles called to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and who persevered in the faith till your deaths, obtain for us of the Lord the grace of living always in conformity to our baptismal vows, ever leading to a life of faith; that like you we may attain to the beatific vision of that God Who now is the object of our faith. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end..
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Blessing of the Wine for the Feast of St. John
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Many countries around the world have the tradition of blessing wine in the name of Saint John on this day, his feastday. Often a sweetened, spiced red wine is prepared and served hot (alcohol is evaporated after boiling for five minutes). At dinner on Saint John's Day, the father blesses a large cup of wine. Each member of the family takes a drink and passes the cup, saying "I drink to you in the love of Saint John".


Blessing of Saint John's Wine
Blessed art Thou, Lord God, who fillest the hungry and satisfiest the thirsty, And givest us wine to gladden our hearts. Grant that all who drink this wine in remembrance of Saint John may rejoice in Thee and be invited to sit at Thy heavenly banquet for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayers Offered by a Priest to Bless the Wine
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Edited August 2006 Posts
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I have just finished editing the August 2006 Archives. Now all of my posts between June 2005 August 2006 inclusive have been re-read and edited if needed. I will hopefully edit more in the coming weeks. Please check out the August 2006 Archives and comment on anything that you like.
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Saturday, December 25, 2010
Christmas 2010 Urbi et Orbi
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URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE
OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE BENEDICT XVI 
“Verbum caro factum est” – “The Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14).

Dear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus.

This message is ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most daring hope. First of all, because it is not merely a proclamation: it is an event, a happening, which credible witnesses saw, heard and touched in the person of Jesus of Nazareth! Being in his presence, observing his works and hearing his words, they recognized in Jesus the Messiah; and seeing him risen, after his crucifixion, they were certain that he was true man and true God, the only-begotten Son come from the Father, full of grace and truth (cf. Jn 1:14).

“The Word became flesh”. Before this revelation we once more wonder: how can this be? The Word and the flesh are mutually opposed realities; how can the eternal and almighty Word become a frail and mortal man? There is only one answer: Love. Those who love desire to share with the beloved, they want to be one with the beloved, and Sacred Scripture shows us the great love story of God for his people which culminated in Jesus Christ.

God in fact does not change: he is faithful to himself. He who created the world is the same one who called Abraham and revealed his name to Moses: “I am who I am … the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob … a God merciful and gracious, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (cf. Ex 3:14-15; 34:6). God does not change; he is Love, ever and always. In himself he is communion, unity in Trinity, and all his words and works are directed to communion. The Incarnation is the culmination of creation. When Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, was formed in the womb of Mary by the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit, creation reached its high point. The ordering principle of the universe, the Logos, began to exist in the world, in a certain time and space.

“The Word became flesh”. The light of this truth is revealed to those who receive it in faith, for it is a mystery of love. Only those who are open to love are enveloped in the light of Christmas. So it was on that night in Bethlehem, and so it is today. The Incarnation of the Son of God is an event which occurred within history, while at the same time transcending history. In the night of the world a new light was kindled, one which lets itself be seen by the simple eyes of faith, by the meek and humble hearts of those who await the Saviour. If the truth were a mere mathematical formula, in some sense it would impose itself by its own power. But if Truth is Love, it calls for faith, for the “yes” of our hearts.

And what do our hearts, in effect, seek, if not a Truth which is also Love? Children seek it with their questions, so disarming and stimulating; young people seek it in their eagerness to discover the deepest meaning of their life; adults seek it in order to guide and sustain their commitments in the family and the workplace; the elderly seek it in order to grant completion to their earthly existence.

“The Word became flesh”. The proclamation of Christmas is also a light for all peoples, for the collective journey of humanity. “Emmanuel”, God-with-us, has come as King of justice and peace. We know that his Kingdom is not of this world, and yet it is more important than all the kingdoms of this world. It is like the leaven of humanity: were it lacking, the energy to work for true development would flag: the impulse to work together for the common good, in the disinterested service of our neighbour, in the peaceful struggle for justice. Belief in the God who desired to share in our history constantly encourages us in our own commitment to that history, for all its contradictions. It is a source of hope for everyone whose dignity is offended and violated, since the one born in Bethlehem came to set every man and woman free from the source of all enslavement.

May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence. May the comforting message of the coming of Emmanuel ease the pain and bring consolation amid their trials to the beloved Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East; may it bring them comfort and hope for the future and bring the leaders of nations to show them effective solidarity. May it also be so for those in Haiti who still suffer in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and the recent cholera epidemic. May the same hold true not only for those in Colombia and Venezuela, but also in Guatemala and Costa Rica, who recently suffered natural disasters.

May the birth of the Saviour open horizons of lasting peace and authentic progress for the peoples of Somalia, Darfur and Côte d’Ivoire; may it promote political and social stability in Madagascar; may it bring security and respect for human rights in Afghanistan and in Pakistan; may it encourage dialogue between Nicaragua and Costa Rica; and may it advance reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope. May the love of “God-with-us” grant perseverance to all those Christian communities enduring discrimination and persecution, and inspire political and religious leaders to be committed to full respect for the religious freedom of all.

Dear brothers and sisters, “the Word became flesh”; he came to dwell among us; he is Emmanuel, the God who became close to us. Together let us contemplate this great mystery of love; let our hearts be filled with the light which shines in the stable of Bethlehem! To everyone, a Merry Christmas!

Image Source: Reuters

Listen to the Video:


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Hodie Christus Natus Est
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Thursday, December 23, 2010
New Videos of the Traditional Latin Mass
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Here are three videos recently uploaded to You-Tube.  Listen to the high quality of the choir in the first video as their prayers rise up to Heaven.  Note: If you are viewing this post through a feed, please view the original post to see the quality of the videos and watch them embedded into the post.



This video is of the Papal Elevation by John XXIII. Listen to the beautiful March of Silveri, traditionally played at the Papal Elevation.



This video is of a Traditional Baptism

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
December 18, 2010, SSPX Ordinations in Argentina
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On December 18, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais ordained 5 new priests for the SSPX at Seminario Nuestra Señora Corredentora in LA REJA, ARGENTINA.



Assisting at the ceremonies was seminary rector, Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, as well as Frs. Olmedo (seminary vice-rector) as the assistant priest, Bouchacourt (South America District Superior), and Trejo (Mexico District Superior) as the assistant deacons, J. Mestre as deacon and Calderon as subdeacon.


The new alter Christi are: Frs. Fabio Calixto (from Brazil), Carlos Ramirez, (Colombia), Juan Albisu (Argentina), Carlos Caliri (Argentina), and Hector Guiscafre (Mexico).



With these 5 new priests, the Society reaches the number of 534 of whom 84 work in the United States.


Source: SSPX.ORG
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Ten Reasons to Say Mass Ad Orientem
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For readers of A Catholic Life, you will notice that I enjoy posting videos and photographs of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  I am especially fond of beautiful images of the Tridentine Latin Mass.  When I first tell people of the beauty and solemnity of this worship of our Lord, one of the first things that they ask is "Is that the Mass where the priest faces away from the people?"

I always have to remind these people that the priest is not facing away from them.  He is not facing them at times when He is speaking to our Lord, truly present in the Eucharist before him!

I see a fantastic list going around the Catholic Blogosphere.  Here is that list:


1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is experienced as having a theocentric direction and focus.

2. The faithful are spared the tiresome clerocentrism that has so overtaken the celebration of Holy Mass in the past forty years.

3. It has once again become evident that the Canon of the Mass (Prex Eucharistica) is addressed to the Father, by the priest, in the name of all.

4. The sacrificial character of the Mass is wonderfully expressed and affirmed.

5. Almost imperceptibly one discovers the rightness of praying silently at certain moments, of reciting certain parts of the Mass softly, and of cantillating others.

6. It affords the priest celebrant the boon of a holy modesty.

7. I find myself more and more identified with Christ, Eternal High Priest and Hostia perpetua, in the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary, beyond the veil, before the Face of the Father.

8. During the Canon of the Mass I am graced with a profound recollection.

9. The people have become more reverent in their demeanour.

10. The entire celebration of Holy Mass has gained in reverence, attention and devotion

Image Source: Major Seminary in Krakow
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Saturday, December 18, 2010
Pray the O Antiphons
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The O Antiphons are a series of antiphons to the Magnificant, which are prayed as part of Vespers (evening prayer) from December 17th - 23th inclusive. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. It is unknown when the O Antiphons started, however, there is mention of them as far back as the 400's AD. They are often called the Great Antiphons too.

If one were to start with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Thus, the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

Here is a link to the chanting of the O Antiphons in Latin:

December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
December 18: O Adonai (O Adonai)
December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 21: O Oriens (O Morning Star)
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
December 23: O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)

Image Source: O Antiphons via Catholic Eye Candy
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Christmas Novena Prayers
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The Nativity by Jacob Jordaens


Please join me in praying a Christmas Novena.

December 16: O Shepherd that rulest Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep, come to guide and comfort us.One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be

December 17: O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudenceOne Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

December 18: O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched armOne Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be

December 19: O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be

December 20: O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be

December 21: O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of deathOne Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be

December 22: O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof. O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earthOne Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be

December 23: O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our GodOne Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be

December 24: O Thou that sittest upon the cherubim, God of hosts, come, show Thy face, and we shall be saved.One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Advent Ember Days
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Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5)

Ember Days: December 15, 17, and 18

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.

From Catholic Culture:

Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.

The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks are known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
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Summary of: St. John of the Cross: "Dark Night of the Soul"
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As I have written about before, my other website CatechismClass.com owns and sells a wide variety of Catholic book summaries to both modern written works as well as spiritual classics, like St. John of the Cross' "Dark Night of the Soul."  I wanted to share some of our summary of the "Dark Night of the Soul."

 Chapter 1 : Quotes the verse and begins to discuss the imperfections of beginners

God draws souls through three states to divine union. Beginners are those who practice spiritual meditation. Proficients are those who are already contemplatives. The Perfect are those who are in divine union of the soul with God. Beginners should understand their feebleness of state and take courage that God has placed them in the dark night to strengthen the virtue of their soul to receive the delights of love of God.

God nurtures and caresses the soul who is newly converted to his service as a mother nurtures her child at the breast. As the child grows the mother withholds her caresses and puts the child down so the child may put away childish habits and grow to greater things. At this stage the soul, through no effort of its own, receives great satisfaction in performing spiritual exercises. The soul finds great joy and consolation in the prayers, penances, fasts and sacraments. However, the motivation of the soul is the consolation and satisfaction received from these acts. They have not long practiced virtue so they still possess many faults and imperfections. Their habits are feeble like a weak child.

We will describe, using the seven capital vices, some of the many imperfections beginners commit. The dark night purifies the soul of these childish imperfections.


Chapter 2: Some of the imperfections of pride possessed by beginners.

Beginners feel a secret pride due to their fervor and diligence in their spiritual exercises, so that they become complacent with themselves. They become vain and speak of spiritual things in the presence of others, sometimes instructing, condemning, or criticizing the practice of others, like the Pharisee in Lk. 18-11-12.

The devil uses this growing pride by increasing their fervor and readiness to perform spiritual works. But he does this to negate the worth of these virtues turning them into vices. These beginners will condemn and detract others, seeing the splinter in their brother’s eye, rather than the plank in their own. (Mt. 7:3)

When confessors or spiritual directors disapprove of their spirit and methods, the beginner will say the director does not understand, or will seek a new confessor who will praise them. They will make many resolutions with little result, and will also make public displays of raptures so others will take notice.

Beginners want their confessor to think highly of them, so rather than accuse themselves of their true sins, they will excuse their behavior. Or they might seek out different confessors to confess so that their regular confessor thinks they commit no sins at all. They confess their good behavior. It would be better for them to make light of the good they do and wish no one consider it of any importance at all.

Beginners minimize their faults or become discouraged by them, since they felt they were already saints. They become impatient and angry with themselves, which is another fault. They wish that God would remove all their faults, but it is for personal peace rather than love of God. They don't realize that removal of their faults might make them more proud and presumptuous. They love praise from others, but dislike praising others, like the foolish virgins who had to borrow oil, (Mt. 25:8)

Beginners may have few or many imperfections or tendencies towards them, but all beginners will fall victim to some of these faults.

Continue Reading...
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Sunday, December 12, 2010
Mass of Saint Hubert at St-Nicolas du Chardonnet in France
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The following images are of Mass of St. Hubert in the church of St. Nicolas du Chardonnet in Paris November 21, 2010.  I have posted a video previously of Mass said in St. Nicolas du Chardonnet.




Source: La Porte Latine
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Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
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From Catholic Culture:
"Rejoice: the Lord is nigh." As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The oft-repeated Veni ("Come") of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: "Come, Lord Jesus," the last words of the New Testament.
Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.

Traditional Propers:


INTROIT
Philippians 4: 4-6
Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing by prayer let your petitions be made known to God. -- (Ps. 84. 2). Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. V.: Glory to the Father . . . -- Rejoice in the Lord always . . .

COLLECT - Incline Thine ear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to our petitions: and, by the grace of Thy visitation, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity . . .

EPISTLE
Philippians 4:4-7
Brethren, Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL
Psalms. 72: 2,3,6
Thou, O Lord, that sittest upon the Cherubim, stir up Thy might and come. V.: Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: that leadest Joseph like a sheep. Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Stir up, O Lord, Thy might, and come to save us. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
John 1: 19-28

At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

OFFERTORY
Psalms 84: 2,3
Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob: Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people.

SECRET - May the Sacrifice of our devotion, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be continually offered up to Thee, may it both complete the institution of the holy Mysteries, and wondrously accomplish in us Thy salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

COMMUNION
Isaias 3 5: 4
Say: Ye fainthearted, take courage and fear not: behold our God will come, and will save us.

POST COMMUNION - We implore, O Lord, Thy mercy: that these divine helps may expiate our sins, and prepare us for the approaching feast. Through our Lord . .
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Friday, December 10, 2010
Pope Approves 16 Decrees for Saints' Causes
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The Pope today authorized these decrees of martyrdom, along with five decrees recognizing miracles, and four decrees declaring heroic virtue.

One of those recognized to have gained a miracle through his intercession is already beatified, meaning canonization is just a step away. This is Blessed Guido Maria Conforti, Italian archbishop and founder of the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (1865-1931).

The other four who gained miracles through their intercession are recognized as Servants of God:

-- Francesco Paleari, Italian priest of the "Cottolengo" Institute (1863-1939).

-- Anna Maria Janer Anglarill, Spanish founder of the Institute of Sisters of the Holy Family of Urgell (1800-1885).

-- Marie Clare of the Child Jesus (born Libania do Carmo Galvao Meixa de Moura Telles e Albuquerque), Portuguese founder of the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (1843-1899).

-- Dulce (born Maria Rita Lopes Pontes), Brazilian religious of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (1914-1992).

The martyrs recognized by the Pope's decree are Servants of God:

-- Alois Andritzki, German diocesan priest who died in the concentration camp of Dachau (1914-1943).

-- Jose Nadal y Guiu (1911-1936) and Jose Jordan y Blecua (1906-1936), Spanish diocesan priests, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain.

-- Antonio (born Miguel Faundez Lopez), Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor (1907-1936) and Bonaventura (born Baltasar Mariano Munoz Martinez) Spanish cleric of the Order of Friars Minor (1912-1936), as well as Pedro Sanchez Barba (1895-1936) and Fulgencio Martinez Garcia (1911-1936), Spanish priests and pastors of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain.


Heroic virtues were recognized for the following four people, now Servants of God:

-- Antonio Palladino, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1881-1926).

-- Bechara (born Selim Abou-Mourad), Lebanese religious of the Basilian Salvatorian Order of the Melkites (1853-1930).

-- Maria Elisa Andreoli, Italian founder of the Congregation of Reparatrix Sisters Servants of Mary (1861-1935).

-- Maria Pilar of the Sacred Heart (born Maria Pilar Solsona Lamban), Spanish religious of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary, Religious of Pious Schools (1881-1966).

Source: Zenit
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's Sermon for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
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In the name of the Father...

My dear friends, my dear brethren,

As the whole liturgy of today shows us, God, in His wisdom, had long ago prepared for us the most Blessed Virgin Mary. It was not just at the moment of her birth on earth that God decreed to exempt her from all sin, and to make her the Immaculate Conception but already in eternity, which preceded the creation of the world.

The epistle today recalls this fact, applying to the Most Holy Virgin the words of the eternal Wisdom; already the Holy Virgin was in the mind of God – "iam concepta eram - I was already conceived" - yes, conceived in the mind of God, and thus already in the divine plan God was thinking of the Virgin Mary. Already He wished to fill her with all His graces, and to give her this extraordinary privilege of the Immaculate Conception, exempting her from all sin: "Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te - Thou art all fair, O Mary, and there is no stain of original sin in thee."

So already in eternity, before the creation of the world, God was thinking of this admirable creature, the first of His creatures after our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. All during the course of history which preceded the birth of the Blessed Virgin, during the whole history of humanity, God was thinking of the Blessed Virgin. We see it during the entire history of the Old Testament - already, immediately after the sin of Adam and Eve, God said to Adam and Eve, "I will place an enmity between thee and the woman…..She shall crush thy head." So already the Virgin Mary had been foreseen by the Spirit of God and her preparation, the preparation for her Immaculate Conception, was becoming more and more precise the whole time.

The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary can also be found in the holy women of the Old Testament. Think of the account of Sarah, the wife of Tobias, on whose behalf an angel bound up the demon and cast him far into the desert. She is an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "before whom the devil must flee, and whom the devil fears." The Virgin Mary was not under the empire of Satan for an instant, a single instant.

The story of Judith also illustrates the role of the most Holy Virgin Mary. She delivered the people of Israel from the hands of Holofernes. In cutting off the head of Holofernes Judith saved Israel, and in like manner the Blessed Virgin, by cutting off the head of the devil in a certain sense, saved the people of God.

Thus during the whole course of history God wished that we be reminded of the most Holy Virgin; the Blessed Virgin Mary was always present to God and in the plan of God and thus from her birth the Blessed Virgin Mary was exempt from all sin. At the moment of her birth she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and yet again even more so - if such be possible - at the moment when the Angel Gabriel came to announce that she would be the Mother of the Savior. Behold what the Angel said to the Blessed Virgin: "Thou art full of grace, overflowing with grace, and the Holy Ghost shall descend upon thee and overshadow thee."

How could the Holy Ghost be present with the devil in the soul of the most Holy Virgin? There could be no stain in the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary; already God had decided that. And from the beginning of the Blessed Virgin's existence, we see that, in fact, the Blessed Virgin is wholly filled with the Holy Ghost. She is shown to us as a contemplative, and living in the presence of God, speaking little, reflecting on all the words which Our Lord said. At times she deemed it right to discreetly intervene, as at the marriage feast of Cana, and this was to teach us her whole gospel: "Do whatever He shall tell you." This is the gospel of our Holy Virgin Mary.

Again, she was present at Calvary as the Mother of the Eternal Priest, at the offering of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for she also was crucified with Our Lord. If St. Paul could say, "Confixus sure cruci - I am nailed to the Cross with Christ," how much more could the Blessed Virgin Mary say it!

Again, she was also present at the moment of Pentecost, when the Apostles received the Holy Ghost - she who was already filled with the Holy Ghost, she did not need to receive Him again but through her mediation, the Apostles received Him.

Finally the Blessed Virgin Mary went up to heaven, not only in her soul but also in her body, and thus was this extraordinary life of hers completed; a life unique in the history of humanity, but foreseen by God from all eternity.

The influence of the Blessed Virgin Mary has not ceased. Even now in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary continues to be the Mother of the Mystical Body of Our Lord, the Mother of the Church, the Mother of our souls. She shows it, she proves it, she proves it in every one of us, but she also proves it in her apparitions. Is it not admirable to think that after the Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as a revealed truth, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was Immaculate from her Conception - already four years later on March 21, 1858, the Blessed Virgin herself said to little Bernadette, the little shepherdess, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Remember that Bernadette was incapable of understanding, she could not understand what these words meant, and she left the grotto on her way to her pastor’s house repeating these words which she did not understand, to make sure she would not forget them. The history of the life of Bernadette tells us that it was at that moment that the parish priest of Lourdes, Pere Pomian, was truly convinced by the apparitions at Lourdes. He realized that the poor little shepherdess was incapable of inventing this herself, and that the dogma had been proclaimed four years before by the Sovereign Pontiff. Thus it was confirmed by the Blessed Virgin herself that she was the Immaculate Conception.

What lesson, then, must we draw from this history of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception? For all of us who have been baptized, we who in a certain sense have received more than others because of the offices we may occupy in Holy Church - all of us: If the Blessed Virgin Mary was Immaculate in her Conception it is because she was to be the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, because she had to carry within herself Our Lord, the Son of God, because she was charged with giving Him to the world, because she was to live in proximity with Him, to be His Mother.

We Christians, who receive Holy Communion, do we not receive the same Jesus Christ, the same Body, which was conceived by the Blessed Virgin Mary? We receive Him in us, in our bodies….in our souls. If it was decreed that the Blessed Virgin Mary was to be immaculate in her conception, so that she might receive the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His soul, His divinity, must we not also be pure? Not that we can be immaculate in our conception, but may our souls be immaculate, by our prayers, by our dispositions, by our efforts, by the grace of God . . . to win this privilege that the Blessed Virgin had by the gift of Our Lord Jesus Christ, may we by our prayers and by the grace of God obtain the grace of having immaculate souls to receive Our Lord Jesus Christ.

We must! We must live without sin, we must struggle against anything that might tarnish our souls, so that it can be said of our souls: "Tota pub chra est, et macula non est in te -Thou art all fair, and there is no stain in thee." Let there be no stain in our souls so that we may worthily receive Our Lord Jesus Christ.

And if that is true for Christians, true for the faithful, true for every person, every soul receiving Our Lord Jesus Christ, how much more, dear brethren, is it true of you - you who are destined in a singular way to consecrate yourselves to God, to offer yourselves to God, and particularly those who offer themselves to God in the priesthood, who, in this world, call down Our Lord Jesus Christ upon the altar and, like the Blessed Virgin, touch Him with their hands, and give Him to others; how much more must your souls be immaculate!

With what joy, therefore, do we receive today the oblations of those who desire to offer their lives, offer their souls, for the service of God, the service of the altar. Let us ask in a special way of the Blessed Virgin to transmit, in a certain degree, this privilege she had, the graces which are necessary to keep our souls immaculate.

She is the creature that was created, designed by God to destroy sin. Thus there is no creature more free of sin than the Blessed Virgin Mary. She has crushed the head of the serpent. Therefore with the Blessed Virgin there is no compromise, no compromise with sin, no compromise with error; she is completely true, completely holy. She cannot bear error, or sin, or vice. Let us then ask the Blessed Virgin that we ourselves have this horror of sin, this horror of vice - but love for sinners, because it was for sinners that she was created, to save sinners. May we have this immense desire, this flame which must consume us, the desire to save souls from sin, to snatch them from the clutches of the devil, the clutches of the world, and the scandals of it.

Therefore let us all ask today that our Society be a sign, a sign of truth, a sign of holiness, a sign of flight from sin, and all the scandals of the world, and a sign of the presence of the Virgin Mary. We will truly be children of the Church, children of Mary, on this condition. But if, unhappily, we also become like the people who are drawn by the world and who want compromises with things of the world, with error - then we will no longer be worthy children of Mary, worthy children of Our Lord.

That is what we ask, for all those who are present at this Holy Mass, for all those who are present here, and particularly for those who, in a moment, will pronounce their oblation and their engagements in the Society.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Source: SSPX Asia
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Sunday, December 5, 2010
Bishop James Conley to offer High Mass on Solemnity of Immaculate Conception
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Feast of the Immaculate Conception


Bishop James Conley, Auxiliary Bishop of Denver, will be the Celebrant for an evening High Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (5612 S. Hickory St., Littleton, CO 80120) on Wednesday December 8th, 6 pm.  This is an FSSP parish. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is the Patronal feast of the United States of America and the Archdiocese of Denver. Please remember this feast is a holy day of obligation. Other Mass times are scheduled: 7 am, 8:30 am. and 6 pm.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010
Contact Me: Updated
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1. One of my favorite things is receiving emails from my readers.  If you want to write me to say hello or if you are searching for an answer to anything Catholic-related, please write me.  I love receiving emails and will usually respond within 6 hours of receiving your message.  And you can be sure that if I don't know the answer to your question, I will find someone who can provide the answer.  Please send your comments to acatholiclife [at] gmail.com.

2. Secondly, I live in the Chicago area and am open to meet anyone in the area before/after Mass on Sundays.  If you are in town and looking for a traditional Mass in the area, I can direct you to several places and show you around the town if needed.  If you are in the area visiting, send me an email and we can see if our schedules match up.

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Second Sunday of Advent
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Traditional Propers:

INTROIT
Isaias 30:30
People of Sion, behold the Lord shall come to save the nations: and the Lord shall make the glory of His voice to be heard, in the joy of your heart. -- (Ps. 79. 2). Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. V.: Glory to the Father . . . -- People of Sion

COLLECT - Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son: that through His coming we may attain to serve Thee with purified minds. Who liveth and reigneth, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God . . .

EPISTLE
Romans 15:4-13
Brethren, What things soever were written, were written for our learning: that, through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures, we might have hope. Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind and with one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also hath received you unto the honor of God. For I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: but that the Gentiles are to glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: Therefore will I confess to Thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and will sing to Thy Name. And again He saith: Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people. And again: Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles, and magnify Him, all ye people. And again, Isaias saith: There shall be a root of Jesse; and He that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing: that you may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost.

GRADUAL
Psalms. 49: 2,3,5
Out of Sion, the loveliness of His beauty: God shall come manifestly. V.: Gather ye together His Saints to Him, who have set His covenant before sacrifices. Alleluia, alleluia. V.: (Ps. 121. 1) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go unto the house of the Lord. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
Matthew 11: 2-10

At that time, when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, sending two of his disciples, he said to Him: Art thou He that art to come, or look we for another? And Jesus, making answer, said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them: and blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me. And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send my Angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee.

OFFERTORY
Psalms 89: 7,8
Thou wilt turn, O God, and bring us to life, and Thy people shall rejoice in Thee: show us, O Lord, Thy mercy, and grant us Thy salvation.

SECRET - Be appeased, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the prayers and sacrifices of our humility: and where we lack pleading merits of our own, do Thou, by Thine aid, assist us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son . . .

PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

COMMUNION
Baruch 5: 5; 4:36
Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high, and behold the joy that cometh to thee from Thy God.

POST COMMUNION - Filled with the food of spiritual nourishment, we humbly entreat Thee, O Lord, that by our partaking of this Mystery, Thou wouldst teach us to despise the things of earth, and to love those of heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son . .
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Thursday, December 2, 2010
Photos: Pope Benedict XVI at First Vespers for Advent Throughout the Years
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As is evident in the above image, the Holy Father is dressed brilliantly, truly radiant as the Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ.  A continuing theme that I have shared on my blog is the Holy Father's choice in garments.  You will see that as time continues to pass, the Holy Fathere continues to wear more traditional vestments.

Below is an image from the blog Opinionated Catholic of the Holy Father at the Vespers of Advent in 2009.  More photos of the First Vespers of Advent in 2009 are available at the New Liturgical Movement.


Now for comparison purposes, look at these photos from 2008's First Vespers of Advent:



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Wednesday, December 1, 2010
First Mass of Father Severino da Silva
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From the blog Dominus Vobiscum:





To the solemn chords of the "Ave Maris Stella" Padre Severino da Silva entered the beautiful Chapel of Immaculate Conception College to sing his first solemn mass. Performed well, the cherished dream since the early days of the seminar celebrating the same Mass of the Holy Curé of Ars. On November 13, the city of Natal has witnessed something very rare, a new priest celebrating the Mass in Gregorian Rite, assisted by deacon and subdeacon. Ceremonies and ran like the first ones to let readers images of that unforgettable celebration.

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